THE SCENT OF LILACS SAVED ME
I am sad for you
who never knew her.
You can bet
she was an old lady
when we first met.
Eighteen years old in 1915
the 12th of 13
in a family where her father
knew he had spit too many daughters
to work the farm easily.
She gave that way of life deftly
the single finger salute and split.
Earned a teacher’s certificate
well before “standardized” became
the bastardized standard.
Taking the deal life handed her
she hied herself off to a cow town
in the era when she should ha’ been married
with baby after baby carried.
Two thousand miles from the farm.
Imagine if you can a single woman
amidst of mist of what she grew up in
but a stranger to strangers needing to learn
all the while making the ranches earn.
Independently free of family,
the best her papa Rowdy could do was write,
a skill he poorly took to—
leap forward and a lifetime later to 1954
when I emerged
through my own mother’s door;
4th of 5. Karma is not always cruel.
Came a day she caught me,
the family fool, with my face pressed
into her white Lilac bush gathering the scent
she smelled in me something different
from themwho scrawled her walls before me.
She read them children’s stories,
to me she gifted poetry.
I rarely if ever write from a prompt but this one at D’VersePoets Pub caught my eye. I seriously doubt I could have ever had a stronger push to me being me than I got from my grandmother, a fiercely independent Canadian of Irish descent.